1. Is Big Smo For Real? A Q&A With the Self-Proclaimed 'Hick Ross'

    June 27, 2014 3:46 PM EDT Meet the country-rap "hick-hopper" with an A&E show and a record deal. A&E’s latest reality star? A country rapper named Big Smo. Real name John Smith, the 39-year-old Unionville, Tenn., native falls somewhere between Colt Ford and Bubba Sparxxx. Smo’s self-titled series,…

  2. Willie Nelson Drops 'Band of Brothers,' His Best Album in Over a Decade (Review)

    June 27, 2014 3:35 PM EDT What does an 81-year old country music legend do to keep life interesting for himself? Go back to something he’s good at: writing songs. This is, astonishingly, the first Willie Nelson album to be dominated by self-penned material since the one-two punch of "Spirit" and "Teatro…

  3. 'Smooth' at 15: Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas Reflect on Their Billboard Hot 100 Smash

    June 27, 2014 2:10 PM EDT Back in 1971, guitarist Carlos Santana hit No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “Black Magic Woman.” It would take him nearly three decades to make the top 10 again, but what a comeback it was. “Smooth,” featuring Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas on vocals, topped the chart for a stunning…

  4. J.Lo Tops R&B/Hip Hop Albums, T.I. & Iggy Team Up for a Top 10 Hit

    June 26, 2014 8:04 PM EDT JLO, A.K.A. CHART LEADER: Jennifer Lopez crowns the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with "A.K.A.," which arrives with 33,000 copies sold in the week ending June 22, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The entrance marks her third No. 1 on the chart (and eighth top 10). She…

  5. Willie Nelson Scores First No. 1 On Top Country Albums In 28 Years

    June 26, 2014 5:33 PM EDT The icon ends the second-longest gap between leaders in the chart's archives. Plus, moves for Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan and more With the second-longest span between No. 1s in the chart's 50-year history, and the longest for a living artist, Willie Nelson…

  6. Jean Shepard Reflects on Her Life 'Down Through The Years'

    June 26, 2014 3:00 PM EDT Country Music Hall of Fame member Jean Shepard is in a reflective mood these days, and much of that stems from releasing her long-awaited autobiography, "Down Through The Years." She admitted to Billboard that it has been a work in progress – for a while. “I’ve been working on it…

  7. Latin Grammys to Air Nov. 20 Live on Univision from MGM Grand

    June 26, 2014 2:55 PM EDT The 15th edition of the Latin Grammy Awards is scheduled to broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 20 and will air on the Univision Network. The awards show has broadcast from Las Vegas for 7 years, but this is the first time it will be produced out of the MGM…

  8. Barbra Streisand Duets Album Almost Finished, Says Babyface

    June 26, 2014 1:24 PM EDT "It's a beautiful, beautiful record," says the legendary producer of the upcoming all-star album. Barbra Streisand's upcoming all-star duets album is nearing completion, according to one of its producers. "It took a long time to get it done, but we're…

  9. Michael Jackson's Singles Sell 4 Million U.K. Copies In 5 Years

    June 25, 2014 11:19 PM EDT In a tribute to Michael Jackson, who died five years ago Wednesday, British music sales tracking firm The Official Charts Company on Wednesday disclosed sales information for "The King of Pop" since his death. "His British fans have downloaded nearly 4 million copies of his…

  10. Aretha Franklin Talks Working With Andre 3000, Covering 'Rolling In The Deep'

    June 25, 2014 3:59 PM EDT The legendary singer says of her new covers album, "We're going to give you exactly what you're expecting and what you're not expecting." Aretha Franklin is "more than happy" with the progress of her upcoming divas covers album, but she acknowledges that…

  11. Michael Jackson's Top 50 Billboard Hits

    June 25, 2014 9:00 AM EDT On the 5th anniversary of his death, we look back at the music that made Michael Jackson the undisputed King of Pop In a career that spanned almost all 50 years of his life, Michael Jackson became a mainstay on the Billboard charts. It was his dominance on the weekly Billboard Hot…

  12. Michelle Obama to Deliver Keynote At Grammy Museum Luncheon in L.A.

    June 25, 2014 6:10 AM EDT First Lady Michelle Obama will be back in Los Angeles on July 16 as the keynote speaker for the Grammy Museum's first inaugural Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon, which recognizes teachers who make outstanding use of music in their classroom instruction. The award was created by the…

  13. Ask Billboard: With Nico & Vinz, Norway Continues U.S. Chart Invasion

    June 24, 2014 11:05 AM EDT The duo's 'Am I Wrong' continues an unprecedented run of U.S. success for Norwegian musical exports. Plus, an Imagine Dragons feat, Linkin Park sales and remembering Casey Kasem As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to…

  14. Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban Confirmed To Join Harry Connick Jr., Ryan Seacrest in 'American Idol' Return

    June 24, 2014 2:28 AM EDT American Idol has locked down talent for its upcoming 14th season. The long-running singing competition series is bringing back its trio of judges, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban, along with host Ryan Seacrest. The news follows the April announcement that Fox’s reality…

  15. Vance Joy, Sia, Lorde Win Big At APRA Awards

    June 23, 2014 11:19 PM EDT Vance Joy, Sia Furler, Lorde and Birds of Tokyo were among the big winners at the annual APRA Awards, held Monday night at Brisbane City Hall. Melbourne-born singer-songwriter Vance Joy (real name James Keogh) took out the coveted song of the year and pop work of the categories for his…

  16. 'Rising Star': Ludacris on Voting Honestly, 'I Ain't Afraid!'

    June 23, 2014 7:59 PM EDT While not all of "Rising Star"'s first crop of contestants won over America with a qualifying vote, one expert in particular might be rubbing audiences the wrong way: Ludacris. And he doesn't mind at all. 'Rising Star': Brad Paisley on the First Episode, 'It…

  17. Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' Is a Hit. How Will It Influence Pop Music?

    June 23, 2014 3:15 PM EDT With a No. 1 debut coming, expect more brooding, rock experimentation and mystique from mainstream music's biggest stars. Here's another Lana Del Rey thinkpiece! The authenticity of one of pop's most confounding… No, wait, come back. I didn't mean to scare you. If you'…

  18. Tae Bo Playlist: Billy Blanks, Snoop Dogg, & More!

    June 23, 2014 8:00 AM EDT Spotify and The Echo Nest searched through their 24 million users and over one-and-a half-billion playlists -- and here is what you are listening to during your Tae Bo workout. You're clearly not the only person still doing Tae Bo. See the complete Tae Bo playlist below! Running Playlist…

  19. Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch Frozen in Time

    June 20, 2014 2:54 PM EDT From outside the gates of Neverland Ranch, it appears as if Michael Jackson 's former home and fantasyland has been frozen in time. The backyard circus is long gone, but heartfelt notes placed by saddened fans at the property's entrance remain intact five years after Jackson's…

  20. N.W.A Biopic 'Straight Outta Compton' Shares Cast Photo & Release Date

    June 19, 2014 10:30 AM EDT Starring O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and the late Eazy-E, the Universal film takes the slot originally reserved for the next "Bourne" installment. Universal Pictures announced Wednesday that its N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta…

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